Short Hops vs Giant Offshore Leap
It’s possible to sail between ports in the US and Bahamas in short, day hops of 50 to 60 miles at a time. Yet, as we prepare to sail north to Beaufort, NC, we’re considering another approach…to just send it and go offshore.
Weighing the Options
The argument in favor of sailing in short hops across the top of the Bahamas to Florida then north, is flexibility. We’d be able to stop along the way when the weather gets bad or we get tired. If we wanted, we could pull over in Florida or Charleston, SC still getting a push from the Gulf Stream all the way to Beaufort. We often like this approach, stopping along the way…but not this time.
Offshore it is!
This time we’re planning an offshore passage. We’ve been watching the weather and plotting our route straight north to Beaufort. Yes, we’ll miss the Gulf Stream’s push of 2-3 knots. We’ll also lose the comfort of changing our mind and pulling in at an unplanned port along the way. What we gain is time. The day hop itinerary to Beaufort, NC would take 2 weeks, while the offshore route will take 72 hours of nonstop sailing.
Prepping for the Passage
We’ve begun stowing items bulky item on the deck into lockers and safe places. The inflatable kayaks are clean, dry and stored. The heavy dingy engine has been hoisted to a locker mid-ships. Items inside the boat that could get flung airborne in big waves, have all been stowed in a safe place. We've readied all of our safety equipment for the passage. Even the sourdough starter is tucked safely in the refrigerator.
There's been a change in our plans. We just received our passage route recommendation from Chris Parker at the Marine Weather Center and he's move up our ideal departure time to...now! We were going to leave tomorrow, but we can beat some unsettled weather off of the Carolina coast if we leave this evening. We'll post an update on this blog when we arrive in Beaufort late Thursday or Friday. Wish us luck!4